November 2021


Masks are now optional for students and employees while on Livingston Parish Public School campuses. That policy became effective Oct. 28 following the governor’s latest mandate concerning mask-wearing. To be eligible for optional mask-wearing on all campuses, the district also reinstated guidelines for determining quarantines and close contact tracing.

Superintendent Joe Murphy said the district’s current quarantine policy is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Louisiana Department of Health and is required as part of Gov. John Bel Edwards’ proclamation for lifting the mask mandate in public schools.

Murphy said masks will continue to be required for all school bus drivers and passengers, as that is a federal mandate.

“It is important to know that current data on positive and close contact cases in our district has diminished greatly over recent weeks, and we believe our decision is supported by that data,” Murphy said.

He said the district has greatly increased its medical staff across the parish, and all decisions related to quarantine requirements for positive and close contact cases will be based on their medical expertise.



Livingston Parish School leaders participated in the ceremonial ribbon cutting on Oct. 19 for the new classroom addition at Seventh Ward Elementary. Pictured, from left to right, are: (back) School Board President Bo Graham, School Board Member Bradley Harris, State Rep. Buddy Mincey, Jr., (front) Seventh Ward Elementary Instructional Coach Tiffany Battiestella, Seventh Ward Elementary Assistant Principal Bridget Castille, School Board Member Jan Benton, Seventh Ward Elementary Principal Laura Dunlap, Superintendent Joe Murphy, School Board Member Cecil Harris, and School Board Member Dr. Devin Gregoire, Ph.D.

Livingston Parish school leaders held a ceremony last month to celebrate the completion of a new $800,000 classroom addition at Seventh Ward Elementary.

The new addition, which includes four classrooms, restroom facilities and storage, was fully constructed and opened with the start of school on Aug. 11, but school officials had delayed the celebration to allow students to be in the building.

“The addition provides ample space to create a physical layout that allows for the ideal implementation of a variety of project-based learning, flexible seating and the ability to accommodate our current and future growth,” said Seventh Ward Elementary Principal Laura Dunlap, adding that the new building is equipped with modern technology and wireless capability for students to use laptops and to engage in Internet-based activities.



Construction of the new Southside campus in Denham Springs continues moving forward as contractors erect steel frames, install roofs and walls.  The campus will house Southside Elementary and Southside Junior High.  Construction is scheduled to be completed in time for both schools to open by the start of the 2022-2023 school year.

Superintendent Joe Murphy recently announced that the district is managing several construction projects to expand and improve campus facilities across the parish.

Those projects include a new band room at French Settlement High School, a new cafeteria at Springfield High, ongoing improvements in Live Oak and new campuses for Denham Springs Elementary, Southside Elementary and Southside Junior High, which were destroyed by the 2016 flood. The district also dedicated a new classroom building at Seventh Ward Elementary

“We don’t look like the Livingston Parish School System of old.  We’re growing, expanding, improving, and becoming better at every level, in every community,” Murphy said.



Former Superintendent John Watson

Former Livingston Parish Public School Superintendent John Watson has been named the 2021 Distinguished Alumnus by Southeastern Louisiana University’s College of Education.

Watson, who served as superintendent of the district from 2012 to 2016, was recognized for his efforts in securing and maintaining a strong relationship between the university and the public school district.  Namely, that relationship helped to strengthen teacher preparation programs that benefitted both institutions and allowed for greater cooperative programs at the Livingston Parish Literacy and Technology Center.

Watson was also instrumental in helping Dr. William Wainwright, chancellor of the Northshore Technical Community College, secure the donation of property for the construction of the community college campus in Walker.

Watson is the second superintendent from Livingston Parish Public Schools to receive SLU’s College of Education Distinguished Alumni Award.  State Sen. J. Rogers Pope, who received the award in 2016.